UK Households Versus Pests – An On-going Struggle

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Many of us have had problems with household pests at one time or another. Mice, wasps, ants or woodworm – it seems that much of Britain’s wildlife will share house space with humans, given the chance! However, while we all know that infestations are unpleasant, did you know that there are good financial reasons for sorting them out as well?

Eaten out of house and home

Many of the UK’s most common pests can cause real damage to the fabric of your home or possessions. Examples include woodworm, which often go un-noticed for years and can quite literally eat through wooden beams; moths, which eat through fibres including clothes and furnishings and rodents especially mice and rats which can chew through many materials including electrical cabling, which can cause fires.

Nobody wants their home to be damaged, but in extreme cases the damage caused by pests can render a house un-sellable. Buyers may not be able to get a mortgage on the property, unless the damage is fixed. If the problem has been allowed to continue over years, this can be very expensive.

Are you covered?

Not all household insurance will cover damage caused by pests, so many home owners in this position have to bear the costs themselves. Some firms do offer policies to cover pest damage, but usually at increased premiums.

Health hazards

Pest infestations can endanger human health as well as possessions. Rodents such as rats and mice are notorious for spreading disease, while pigeons and squirrels leave filth that is a potential source of infection. Ticks and fleas carry Lyme disease and bacterial infections, bed bugs cause skin irritation, while wasps and hornets can cause anaphylaxis (a potentially fatal allergic reaction) in susceptible people.

So now what?

There are measures you can take to prevent common pests from entering your home. These include;

  • If you have pets, make sure that they have preventive treatments for fleas and other pests where possible. Check your pet regularly for signs of fleas and for ticks. Ticks should always be removed immediately.
  • Seal or repair any breaches in the fabric of your home, such as holes in walls or between walls and window panes. Rodents can get into houses through remarkably small spaces. Rodent infestations are particularly common in October and November, when the cold weather drives them into well-heated homes.
  • If you are storing fabric items, such as clothes or bed linen, make sure they are well protected and sealed, for example in a vacuum bag. Inspect fabrics regularly for signs of moth damage.
  • If you are worried and particularly if your home is also your business (for example as a bed and breakfast establishment), talk to a pest controller about preventive measures.

If you do spot signs of infestation, contact a pest control firm straight away. Not only do infestations threaten your household’s health and safety, the longer they go on for, the greater the damage can be.